Upcycle or Recycle – Childhood Love
I remember crashing through my mother’s closet as a child to see which of her sarees I could possibly transform into twirly skirts fro myself. The love for fabrics has taken a journey with me as I have grown up living in India.
The deepest memories are the ones to accompany my mother to small lanes of “Bapu bazaar” (Jaipur) to find borders for her plain sarees which were in trend then and are still on trend now. I haven’t let my mother part away with all the treasures she collected as I wanted to keep them for me, reuse some fabric borders and weave more magical treasures.
Recycling and upcycling have been a family tradition for us. From her ethereal silk sarees to all chiffons, I have used them to make beach gowns, long Indian flows dresses and some bling parts of the saree are now a statement blouses for me.
In my 20’s I took a step further to make her silk sarees into stoles and some cushion covers for my home. I had relocated to Australia for 2 years and I was viewing how Indian tradition was so admired. I used to giggle with my mom on calls explaining to her how they find our craft so exotic. When I finally moved back to India, I transformed my whole house furnishing using my mom’s wardrobe. She is an amazing seamstress and we cut her gorgeous fabrics into bolster cover, table linen and much more. I knew my nascent love for fabrics was taking a giant leap.
Growing up in Rajasthan for 20 years of my life had given me a deep sense of treasuring all the craft that was being created there and shipped worldwide. Australia taught me how to value what we were creating .so unique and colourful. I used to lounge in the fabric markets of Delhi which were posh but they missed the tribal touch of Rajasthan.
I journeyed a lot in Rajasthan from Pushkar to Udaipur, Jodhpur seeing the dyeing techniques and fabric creation procedures. I knew this love was going to take me places. Moving to London and bringing so much of the culture with me was my way to bring the most beautiful crafts and put them forward to be showcased.
I brought my favourite vintage tapestry which was my takeaway from my grandmother closet to me. I framed the tapestry in an intricate wooden frame and now its a statement piece in the hallway of my home. I also carried my great grandmothers tribal silver anklet and bangle which is so exquisite and extraordinary and can never be recreated because that technique of works doesn’t exist anymore. I often style the anklet as a chunky necklace and each time I wear it, I am floored with compliments from absolute strangers. During the partition of India and Pakistan, so many families split and so much art was gone forever.
I genuinely hope that in my travels across the globe, I collect unique treasure that becomes unique keepsakes and usable for my coming generations. In my family, we always remember that we can upcycle and restyle all basics to make them look on-trend.